Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A-Stan Headshot

Heads up, brains at 0:23. Not pretty.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day 2012

     Today is May 28, 2011, Memorial Day. Memorial Day for so many Americans has become just another summer holiday like Labor Day to use as an excuse to barbecue and drink a few beers. However, for many other Americans, Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for our forefathers, grandfathers, fathers and brothers who have made the ultimate sacrifice to defend what we Americans hold dear. Today is a day to remember those who died to make America free from the British monarchy, the over 300,000 Federal soldiers who died to keep America one nation and the 416,000 American soldiers who died in World War Two defending the United States from the threats of the Japanese and the Nazis, along with the thousands of others who made made the ultimate sacrifice. As you read this, take a moment and think about the Men and Women who have come before us and made the ultimate sacrifice to keep us free.

May God bless the families of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, you and the USA.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Flashback Friday: Heinkel He 219 Uhu

     This week we take a look at one the world's first and best night-fighters, the Heinkel He 219 Uhu (Eagle-Owl). Among other innovations, the Eagle-Owl was equipped with an ejection seat, and a VHF intercept radar.
      Less than 300 Eagle-Owls were built during World War II, but for such a small production run it had a great effect on the RAF's night bombing campaign. During the Eagle-Owl's combat debut, a single Eagle-Owl shot down 5 RAF fighters. The Eagle-Owl was also one of the only German aircraft that could fight a British Mosquito on even terms, due it's peed, maneuverability, and firepower.
    However, due to the fact that all of Germany's resources were being poured into the "Emergency Fighter Program", only ~300 He 219s were built. As of 2012 2 He 219s survive, one in National Air & Space Museum, and one in Denmark. The He 219 was such a promising design, one has to wonder how it would have affect the RAF's night-bombing campaign if more resources had been invested in it.

Photo Credit: LuftwaffePhotos

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

First Type 056 Corvette Launched

     Take a good long look at it, this is the next generation of Chinese ASW ships. 

Photo Credit: bigrabbit

China To Build Two More Carriers Starting In 2013

     Focus Taiwan has an article quoting "a Taiwanese security official" claiming that China will begin construction on a second carrier in 2013. 
     There have been rumblings about China building more carriers all over the internet for years now, mainly on forums. However, in 2008 a Japanese newspaper ran an article stating that the Chinese will build 4 more carriers. (see this post for more details).  This is the first time that anyone has claimed that China will begin construction in 2013. 
      As the summer rolls on, it will be interesting to see what developments come from the Chinese aircraft carrier program.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

1st Type 56 Corvette To Be Launched "Within Days"

China Defense Blog reports that the 1st Type 056 corvette is be launched "within days". The Type 056 is believed to be the replacement for the Jianghu-class (Type 053).

Photo Credit: China Defense Blog

Monday, May 21, 2012

Manila Wants Fighters, Just Not U.S. Fighters

     Defense News reports that Manila, due to high maintenance costs, may forgo procuring surplus U.S. F-16s and purchase from another country. This comes as tensions continue to escalate with China over the Spratley Islands and the South China Sea.
     Currently, the Philippines have no air-superiority fighters that can go up against China and win. Manila retired their last F-5 in 2005, effectively leaving the country without an air defense capability. With China rapidly modernizing their Navy and Air Force, Manila has asked the U.S. for 1 to 2 squadrons of surplus F-16s. However, President Benigno Aquino stated May 16th, "We might end up spending $400 million to $800 million per squadron, and we were thinking of getting two squadrons.... We do have an alternative, and - this is a surprise - it seems we have the capacity to buy brand new, but not from America.... These are manufactured by another progressive country that I won't name at this point." This "progressive" country President Aquino mentions, would probably be South Korea, as the Philippines have  looked into purchasing 6 TA-50s to replace several of their retired F-5s. 
      However, if you reread the quote from President Aquino it seems to be making angry noises for the press rather than actually considering a purchase of non-U.S. fighters. The Philippines will get their F-16s one way or another, because the F-16 is the only fighter that they can afford that can win against the Chinese. The TA-50 on other hand is a trainer with a small attack capability, and is not purpose built for air-to-air combat.
      Still, stranger things have happened if the Philippines purchased fighters from a country besides the U.S.. As the summer approaches it will interesting to see how things play out in South China Sea, and the Philippines.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Flashback Friday: Dornier Do 335

     This is the first of hopefully many Flashback Fridays, and this week the subject is the Dornier Do 335 "Arrow". The Do 335 was a propeller-driven fighter developed in the closing weeks of WWII. What makes the Do 335 standout from so many WWII fighters is it's push-pull engine configuration, and the lower drag of the in-line engine alignment.
      The Arrow had an armament of 1 30mm cannon and 2 20mm cannons, and could carry 1000kg of bombs. The Arrow had a range of roughly 1400km, and a max speed of 770kmh.  The Arrow was powered by 2 Diamler-Benz liquid-cooled, 12 cylinder in-line engines generating 1,750 horsepower apiece.
      The Arrow was unable to be deployed in large numbers due to delays in engine deliveries, and the fact that the U.S. overran the factory were it was being produced. However, eleven Arrows were delivered to the Luftwaffe, with at least one seeing combat. French ace Pierre Clostermann encountered a single Arrow on a fighter sweep while flying a Hawker Tempest in April of 1945. When he and his flight of 4 other Tempests pursued the Arrow it was able it outrun them, and escape. Besides this one encounter, there are no there confirmed instances of the Do 335 seeing combat.
     The Do 335 had a great deal of potential with it's ability to outrun most allied fighters, and had it been mass produced a year earlier it could have changed the course of the war. However, due to delays and the lack of resources it was unable to see a great of combat. As of 2012 one Do 335 survives, it resides at the National Air & Space Musuem. With so many promising projects being developed in Germany at the end of WWII, one wonders how long the war would have dragged on if Hitler had started WWII in 1946 like he had planned.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Predator Drone Over Chicago


Coming soon to your local skies.

Video Credit: MisterBees

Israeli "Jedi Rides" Monitoring Iran's Nuclear Program

     Business Insider has an interesting op-ed claiming that Israel is operating stealth Black Hawks  out of Kurdistan to monitor Iran's nuke program. The op-ed was written by Michael Maloof, a former analyst for the SecDef.
      Among the many claims, the statement that Israel has stealth Black Hawks (also known as "Jedi Rides") stands out. In 2010 when SEAL 6 killed Osama Bin Laden, they used modified Black Hawks for insertion and extraction. The modified Black Hawks, among other changes, had a fuselage modified for a lower radar signature. To date only the U.S. is known to have any sort of stealth chopper, and with the Israelis reported to have them, it would open up all sorts of targets that were previously too well defended.
       The one other claim that stood out, was the claim that the Israelis are deploying 12-man teams into Northern Iran to investigate Iran's nuclear program. It is a widely known fact that the Israelis are extremely interested in Iran's nuclear program, and have probably had a hand in the assassinations of several of Iran's top nuclear scientists. However, this is the first claim that the Israelis are actively deploying spec ops people in Iran. The article claims that they are gathering intel to take before the U.N. to convince them that the Iranians are developing nuclear weapons. However, when you put boots on the ground in  hostile country, there are a number of other missions that could be undertaken, such as guiding a laser-guided bomb to it's target, assassinating high-level government officials, or even actively sabotaging military activities.
         As the summer rolls on, it will a good possibility that Israel will strike Iran, as they now a coalition government, which covers Netanyahu's political flank. If the Israelis do strike Iran, keep your powder dry because the crap will hit the fan.

Photo Credit: DefenseTech

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Air Force Fire Suppression Systems Go Off Prematurely,

David Cenciotti over at The Aviationist has a couple of photos (here and here) of some Air Force fire suppression system going off prematurely. In one instance the foam was up to the cockpit of an F-15. Needless to say, there are some officers who have bad fit reps in their near future.

Photo Credit: David Cenciotti

Monday, May 14, 2012

Quantity or Quality? That Is The Question

     Over the last 55 years the American mantra has been "Quality over Quantity" in military equipment. Examples are the F-35, F-22, B-2, Zumwalt-class destroyer, Seawolf-class submarines. In a war with a country that has a capable military/ has an enormous numerical advantage, the technological edge America has always held becomes moot.
     During WWII, Nazi Germany often held the technological advantage over the Allies (Radar being a notable exception). The Panther and Tiger series of tanks consistently outclassed American and British tanks, and it wasn't till 1945 with the advent of the M90 Pershing and A34 Comet that Allied armor could truly match German armor. Another example is the ME 262 "Swallow", the world's first true jet fighter, it could outrun and outgun any Allied fighter of the time, but was defeated because of it's vulnerability when taking off and landing (just like every other fighter). Other examples of Germany's technological advantage include Type XVIIXXI U-boats, He 219, Ta 152, Do 335, Go 229, Ju 290, Ju 390, Ar 234, Ju 287, V-1, V-2Wasserfall, Enzian, and the Rheintochter. Unfortunately, I can't go into detail into detail on all these systems at the moment, but the point I'm attempting to make is that Germany had an enormous technological advantage. However, it was moot because they did not have the production capability, time, resources, trained personnel, trained production personnel, Hitler's meddling, and the Allies numerical advantage.
     During the Second Persian Invasion of Greece, 300 Spartans held off the Persian army for 3 days at the Battle of Thermopylae buying time for Greece to unite and organize to defeat the Persians. The Spartans, who were better trained,  killed several times their number, but because of the Persians sheer weight of numbers they were defeated. Later, at the Battle of Plataea 10,000 Spartans supported by roughly 30,000 other Greeks defeated 300,000 Persians. The reason I bring up the Spartans is because in their day they had the equivalent of a technological edge in their training. When you have a technological edge it only matters when deployed in large numbers like at the Battle of Plataea.    
      The question in your mind at this point is probably, what does this all have to with question of quality over quantity?  There will be a war between the U.S. and a country with an actual military, which country is up for discussion. However, the fundamental flaw in our war fighting strategy is dependence on our technological edge in stealth. The cornerstone of our war fighting strategy is providing air support to the Army and Marines. If we do not have air superiority to allow bombers hit their targets the forces on the ground will be forced to retreat because of the lack of air support and the enemy's numerical superiority. A prime example of this flaw is the F-35 Lightning II. The reason I say this is because of a CBO report a few years ago called "Alternatives for Modernizing U.S. Fighter Forces". Basically there will be a shortfall in Air Force, Navy, and Marine fighter forces
with the F-35 being purchased in currently projected numbers. The F-22 is another example with only 187 being built, at extreme costs, which in an extended conflict will be useless because of their small numbers. Other examples include Nimitz and Ford-class aircraft carriers, the LCS, and B-2.
     The solution? Strike a balance between quality and quantity. The T-34 is an excellent example, as it was simple so unskilled labor could manufacture it in large numbers, and at the same time was could beat the Tiger and Panthers because of it's angled armor and its ability to withstand cold Russian winters. Use a high-low mix similar to the F-15/F-16 or F-22/F-35, but in much greater numbers. Make the KISS principle the cornerstone of weapons development, and keep costs to a minimum.
     Josef Stalin once said the "Quantity has a quality all its own". What Stalin said was true to a point, but rather a balance must be struck between quality and quantity. Otherwise, you will be overwhelmed in a war against an actual military.

Photo Credit: USAF 

Thursday, May 10, 2012


     The Daily Mail reports that the U.N. has recommended that the U.S. return Mount Rushmore to the Indians.
      Mount Rushmore is located in the Black Hills of South Dakota, which are considered sacred by the Sioux indians. The U.S. had signed over the Black Hills to the Sioux in a treaty, but retook them in The Great Sioux War of 1876 (The Battle of Little Bighorn was a part of the war). When a country engages another in a war, and beats the everlivin' crap out of them, they generally keep the land they take.
       Lets be honest here, the U.S. has had control of the Black Hills since 1876, and has made significant improvements to the region. Along with placing one of the most iconic symbols of America in the Black Hills, and this will not sit well with the American people (the commies in D.C. are a different story).  And If the indians and/or the U.N. want Mount Rushmore, well they can come and take it.

Saturday, May 5, 2012


Solomon over at SNAFU! has a great post about using a high/low mix for U.S. aircraft carriers, exactly what I have been saying. So, hop on over there and check it out.

I'm Back

Sorry I've been gone for so long, but work has been bad for the last 3 weeks. However, things have begun to slow down, so I will begin blogging a lot more over the next few weeks. Have a good weekend everybody.

Terrorist Bloopers

With soldiers like this, who needs enemies?

Video credit: YouTube